Google Trends – How does Roleplaying Fare?

Aug 21, 2010

Just out of curiosity, I ran a number of terms through Google Trends relating to role playing and other terms. While I will not proclaim the death of the industry, the trends for the hobby as a whole are down and to the right. If it were a stock, analysts would agree it is not a good industry to be in. Google’s data only goes back to 2004. Less than 10 years. Not a good metric for a comprehensive study but the graphs are educational.


Roleplaying Games

Roleplaying Online

Flowing downhill to the right. Not a very pretty picture but its a generic set of terms for an entire industry. How does the market leading term stand up? Let’s see.

Dungeons and Dragons


Not much better. Everyone says video games are taking over. Are they?

Video Games

Pretty flat of late but better than RPG’s. The next big thing promised but never really delivered is 3D online

3D Online Game

How about the standby board games every family owns and plays? Hasbro has a major market presence in those.

Board Games

Trivial Pursuit

Hasbro Monopoly

Very cyclical. Upticks occur every December as you would expect from a US driven holiday market. Still the trend mirrors the down to the right flow of roleplaying games. How do our slightly related brethren in the LARP and SCA markets hold up?

Society For Creative Anachronism


Okay, how about some search terms not related to the industry for comparison. There has been an explosion of online games of late. Farmville gets more coverage than any other game online I could think of.


How about videos? It seems to be all the rage these days. Do cat videos stand up better?

Cat Videos

Donkey Videos

I’m shocked. I was trying to pick a random animal video term out of the hat. Who knew donkey’s were that much more interesting than cats? I guess times change. The one thing that doesn’t require stating but is an example of the trend you would like but can never achieve.


Hats off to our new naked donkey loving elvish overlords filming porn. Take it as you will. I just had fun looking at the trends.

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  • I use Google trends all the time for work but I hadn’t thought to take a look at RPGs. I’m not particularly surprised by the patterns though. I wonder how these numbers would stack up against sales trend figures from the pdf storefronts (rpgnow, et al).

  • Good question, Tim. One I cannot answer. Too many factors to consider with no data available to draw a conclusion.

  • Interesting. What conclusions do you draw from the data on RPG’s? Why do you think the trends are downward?

  • I found this interesting .. try the words in google trends:

    “Player Character”

  • Interesting graphs to be sure, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in them. The gamers as a subculture are usually a rather informed and tech-savvy bunch, thus it stands to reason that they would need to search less for their game-related info than say lovers of donkey videos or the generally horny person online.

  • @vbwyrde: I didn’t draw conclusions because it is a a single data point and in my opinion, insufficient.

    @Spiralbound: Excellent point and one I considered but didn’t mention. Well stated.

  • […] Das ist die Headline eines Blogeintrages von Cyric, der sich wiederum auf einen Eintrag von KoreRPG bezieht. Dort wird auf Google-Statistiken von 2004 bis heute geblickt und es lassens ich dort […]

    • Someone can correct me if I’m totally off base, but the Pingback translates roughly as an informational forum post on to foster a discussion of using Google Trends in various gaming-related studies of popularity.

      Again, my last name aside, my German isn’t strong. So I could be way off base.

  • Yep, that’s exactly what it is when you pick through the atrocious translation from Google Translate.